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Lesson Ideas
#1566726 11/30/10 12:24 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
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I'm in need of some new lesson ideas. My students aren't bored, but I sure am! Mostly, I'm looking for ideas for two situations:
1. when the student hasn't practiced and the lesson becomes a practice session, repeating measures, metronome use, etc.
2. I'd like to hear what you most often teach (i.e. stroking the key for legato touch, or precision in timing, etc). I'd just like to be reminded by some of you of things I should be checking that I might be forgetting in my usual "inspection".

Thanks!


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Re: Lesson Ideas
MrsCamels #1566868 11/30/10 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by MrsCamels
1. when the student hasn't practiced and the lesson becomes a practice session, repeating measures, metronome use, etc.


Instead of a supervised practice session, I'd do these:

1) Tell stories of composers and their works. Go into great details about the biographical info and how it relates to the work.

2) Analyze chords and intervals in the pieces the student's playing. Describe the harmonic progressions and the "feelings" that the music engenders in the listener.

3) Do an impromptu lesson in rhythmic dictation.

Basically, the idea is to make the lesson mean something, no matter how boring it can get. Students probably don't give a hoot about dominant seventh chords, but, hey, they're everywhere!!


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Re: Lesson Ideas
MrsCamels #1566954 11/30/10 09:17 AM
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Good ideas! I generally mix it up. I try to have the student master a small portion of one piece, then have them assess how they feel about it, hoping they will make the intellectual leap (sometimes it works, most times, it doesn't) that a little bit of focused work reaps great rewards.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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Re: Lesson Ideas
MrsCamels #1566980 11/30/10 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by MrsCamels
I'm in need of some new lesson ideas. My students aren't bored, but I sure am! Mostly, I'm looking for ideas for two situations:
1. when the student hasn't practiced and the lesson becomes a practice session, repeating measures, metronome use, etc.
2. I'd like to hear what you most often teach (i.e. stroking the key for legato touch, or precision in timing, etc). I'd just like to be reminded by some of you of things I should be checking that I might be forgetting in my usual "inspection".

Thanks!


I actually enjoy doing practice sessions with students, In fact, I mostly do that anyways. It's difficult sometimes when they don't practice, but you can teach them ways of learning a piece efficiently. I actually enjoy it a lot, and this rubs off on the students. I love asking them to come up with ways they could practice a particular passage. They realize they can be creative in their practicing, and actually enjoy themselves. It doens't always work, but many times it does.

Discussing a composer is always fun, though, especially when I pull out the music and play a recording so they can follow along, or if I'm able to play the piece. It really makes it more appealing than simply reading about some dead guy.

Improvising or composing is also a great thing to work on. It requires very little prep work, but it might get them going on something during the week.


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Re: Lesson Ideas
MrsCamels #1567126 11/30/10 01:52 PM
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I'm with Morodiene on this - I mostly stick to supervised practice. If the student won't practice at home, and doesn't practice at lessons, then the practice never happens at all. Much more frustrating to me.

I will occasionally take them to my computer, and pull up a YouTube video of something they are doing. Maybe not the same piece, but similar, or "full version" or same composer, or whatever. If they are working on a duet, we'll watch other duets and analyze the "partnership". What do they do to stay together? Can you tell if they are paying attention to each other? What do they do to start? Where are their elbows? smile

My students who don't practice tend to be especially distracted at lessons, as if they are afraid I will discover what they cannot do. (duh). I pay attention to the distraction, and may leap from there. If they are hitting random keys, we'll analyze them. Does that sound good together? Why, or why not? Can you write down what you just played? Notes? Rhythms? Can you transpose it?


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Re: Lesson Ideas
MrsCamels #1567177 11/30/10 02:51 PM
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the biggest reason why I do practicing is because usually the hardest thing to do is to sit down and play a piece the first time, or to come back to it after not practicing it. So we get that over with in the lesson and I let them know that they'll have to continue this in the following days or they will have to start all over again.

If it's a pattern of not practicing, then I may take the lesson time to discuss their schedule and figure out when they can practice.


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Re: Lesson Ideas
MrsCamels #1571627 12/06/10 11:18 PM
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thanks for all the comments, most of what i teach is "how to practice" versus "how to play". I'm guess, I'm looking for new practice ideas, to be specific. I know what I usually teach: metronome pyramids, changing the rhythm of a difficult section to refocus the muscle memory, playing it over and over SLOWLY until you can play 3 times completely perfect in a row (great for those who consider "slowly" to mean "slightly less than rocket speed" - it usually gets them to realize, "Oh, i don't make as many mistakes if i'm actually TRYING to get it right, rather than just get it over with."

i like what i do, but I'm interested in picking up some new ideas from you all to add to my "palette". Any new-to-me practice ideas out there?

Thanks!


Teaching since 2004
Private studio owner since 2008
www.ecsorota.com

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